tv Book Discussion on Obamas Enforcer CSPAN August 10, 2014 10:30am-11:01am EDT
human collecting, which i never knew existed before, which shed light and insight on larger history itself. >> bob weil, publishing director of live right. what tv is on location at book expo america. this is the publisher's annual trade show. you can see a lot of the crowd here. was he of the publishers get together and talk about their upcoming fall books. you are watching the tv on c-span2. ..
>> hans von spakovsky spoke about his book, "obama's enforcer: eric holder's justice department" at the eagle forum collegians leadership summit in washington, d.c. this is about 30 minutes. >> our next speaker is hans von spakovsky who is the author of "obama's enforcer: eric holder's justice department." hans von spakovsky is an attorney and former of the board of advisors for the federal election commission. he's an expert on voter fraud and cowrote with john fund the recent book, who's counting?
gives a staff member at the heritage foundation, particularly speaking and writing on elections. please welcome hans von spakovsky. [applause] >> i hope you're enjoying your stay here at the heritage foundation. well, two years ago john fund and i -- is our national affairs correspondent where i'm also a country but. we wrote a book on election integrity in voter fraud. in june we came out with a second book called "obama's enforcer: eric holder's justice department." and it's basically about how eric holder has run the justice department for the past almost six years. and i can tell you that it's something that ought to concern every american. i'm going to talk about some things at the 30,000-foot level but talk about why you should be concerned about this.
the justice department is probably the most powerful executive branch agencies on the domestic side that we have. the prosecutors who work there can break, bankrupt, and put in prison any american. and if they have the willingness to abuse the law, they can do a lot of harm. that's exactly what's been going on now for a number of years. i used to work at the justice department. i spent four years there. during the bush administration, and i can tell you that the people who i have talked to there, we have sources still inside the department, tell us that eric holder has politicized the department in a way that it has never been politicized before. one veteran of the department, a career civil service lord who was hired during the clinton
administration told us that eric holder was the worst attorney general since jonathan mitchell under richard nixon. mitchell went to jail, you may recall. but that actually holder makes mitchell look like an amateur. and part of what has happened throughout the department is they have been filling the ranks of the justice department, the career ranks. remember, the career civil service is supposed to be a system that hires people without politics, professionals, and what they've been doing is filling the ranks with their political cronies, and people from liberal advocacy groups in washington. there was an inspector general report released last year they got no attention and press. in the bush administration you would've seen on the front pages of the "washington post" and "the new york times." the inspector general report talked about how in the hiring
process for career lawyers in the civil rights division, which is where i used to work, the division had overlooked and refused to hire lawyers who applied for jobs with sorely -- sterling credentials and are almost all of their lawyers exclusively from five liberal advocacy organizations including the aclu. that tell you the mindset. when i was at justice department we saw the law as the feds within which we had to operate. -- the fans. the department today doesn't see the law as a fence. their view is they want to help the president changes into the progressive utopia that the president has the vision for, and the law is just a tool to do that. and if they can ignore the law, been the law, change the law,
twist the law to do that, they will do it. in this book we talk about everything from national security, the really big important topics, to other areas, but why should you be concerned about this? all of you are either in college, but to graduate, about to go into the workforce. let me give you an example of just how crazy they are at the justice department today. last year ahead of the education section of the civil rights division who had been hired in their career slot from the naacp and the once told the united nations that -- that she believed in the united states school officials should be able to assign students based on their race, religion, and immigration status. they sent a letter to colleges throughout the country last year
setting up a new standard that they said colleges had better follow if they did want to get sued by the justice department on claims of sexual harassment. now, i don't believe -- i don't belittle the importance of making sure sexual harassment doesn't occur, but the rules are not that it been established by the supreme court are pretty clear, which is for someone to be guilty of sexual harassment they have to engage in severe behavior that is objectionable to a reasonable person. so if you're a supersensitive individual who gets offended because someone asks you out on a date, that's not sexual harassment. but that's the new rule that the justice department said colleges have to follow. they said that any unwelcome conduct, that's literally from the letter, any unwelcome conduct should be considered
sexual harassment. so i'm telling you literally ready to ask someone out on a date and they are offended by it, under this new rule you could be brought up on sexual harassment charges at your college. not only that but they were extremely upset over the fact that many colleges give due process rights to students. this is america, we believe in due process, you are not considered guilty just because someone accuses you of something. they actually complained in this letter about colleges having appeal rights. so if you were accused of this and there's a fine against you and you want to appeal it, they complained about the fact that you can appeal that. and they also apparently wanted colleges to put in the kind of procedures -- you may recall in alice of wonderland the queen of hearts, remember she said lock
off their heads before there's a trial. well, that's apparently the procedure that the justice department's to put in because they complained in a letter and said that colleges should consider taking disciplinary actions like expulsion and suspension before someone's appeal has been exhausted. that can affect you directly. another way can affect you directly is i can tell you that there is a racialist attitude at the justice department, and that racialist attitude is completely opposite of the way was when i was there which was we believe in the race neutrality of our discrimination laws. in other words, for example, in the voting area, you can't be intimidated when you try to vote. you can't be harassed we try to vote on the basis of race, and that protects everyone. it doesn't matter what your race is. if you're being threatened, intimidated, harassed because of
the race when you try to vote that is illegal under federal law. that's not the way this justice department views that. they believe it only protects people of a certain race. they have the same view towards, for example, employment discrimination. if your disk america against and you're white or asian, they do really care about that. if you're discriminated against because you're black, then they will go after that kind of the case and they will charge you. anyone who doubts that just take a look at what happened in 2008 in philadelphia when members of the new black panther party stood outside a polling place harassing voters trying to get in, yelling racial epithets at them, and black bear legal uniforms -- in black bear legal uniforms with nightsticks. want to get administration do the moment they came in? they dismissed the lawsuit even though they'd already won it.
something that i never heard of in the entire history of the justice department. the justice but had already won a lawsuit because the black panther party didn't bother to file an answer. they could've had a default judgment against them and the administration did dismiss the suit. that tells you something about the attitude there and why it's important that we be concerned about it. the president picked the attorney general that he wanted. they first met, by the way, back in 2004 when barack obama was first elected as a senator. they met at a small dinner party given in washington, d.c. as the attorney general put it, they collect from the first moment they met. they were both ideologues. they both show the same progressive views of america, and holder quickly became a part of the president's team.
and i can tell you that that was quite a change because most people forget that holder, today he is attorney general. he was the number two guy in the clinton administration, in the justice department. and was fully expected that he would support hillary clinton, but he changed his allegiance. that is part of the problem. he considers himself part of the presidents political team, and the attorney general a distant second. that is a real problem. there's no question that an attorney general is a political appointee, and the attorney general is supposed to carry out what the priorities are of the president. the attorney general unlike other members of his cabinet, there's a line that the attorney general is not allowed to cross. which is that despite the priorities of the president, the attorney general's number one duty is to enforce the law. and to do so on an objective nonpartisan basis, this attorney
general does not believe in that. and every time the president has ignored the law, use the law, twisted or changed it, the person at his side telling him how to do that and telling him it's okay has been the attorney general of the united states, eric holder. this is really no surprise. look, he was confirmed by a very large boat, but we knew at the time that this is going to happen. how did we know that? i can tell you about one incident that occurred during the clinton administration that should tell you what this attorney general is capable of. towards the end of the clinton administration, all of you may recall that's when hillary clinton moved to new york and such is going to run for the united states senate. well, at the time there were 16 convicted terrorists, domestic
terrorists in federal prison. they were domestic terrorists from a puerto rican terrorist group that wants puerto rico to become an independent country. and they have engaged in over 130 bombings in the united states, in new york, chicago and other cities, and armed robberies, and it killed and murdered a number of people doing that. these 16 individuals were found, prosecuted and convicted at the sensing of these individuals they threatened the federal judge, threatened to kill him and to make sure he was killed. and, in fact, the federal judge said that if the death penalty had been an option, he would have imposed it. however at the end of the clinton administration, consoles for hillary clinton were all saying that the puerto rican vote was very important the new
york, and pardoning these 16 terrorists might help her with the vote. so they went to the go to guy in the justice department, who was eric holder, because they didn't trust the attorney general to do the political think that they thought was correct, and eric holder recommended that these individuals be pardoned. now, what you should know about this is that the fbi recommended against it. the victims didn't want it to happen, and the pardons attorney at the justice department was adamantly against it because there's a lawyer in an office at the justice department whose job it is to review applications that come in for pardons by the prison. that brings up another issue. none of these individuals had applied for a pardon, none of them. and, in fact, had never expressed the least apology for
what they had done. those pardons were all issued and these individuals were let out of jail. that tells you what eric holder is capable of. he did this for political reasons, pure and simple. and, frankly, one of the reasons he did it in addition to hillary clinton was that he was hoping this would help him in the next administration become the attorney general because he was hoping of course that al gore would win the election period so that tells you something about this attorney general, and it should make you realize that all things going on today are really no surprise. there's a lot more in the book. i will just say one other thing and that i'll be happy to answer questions, and that is there's a whole chapter about national security at how, for example, in the justice department they have a division called the national security division, and who have
been hired into the jobs they're? all these washington lawyers who volunteered pro bono to represent and help all the terrorists held in guantánamo bay. those other people they've hired and put into the national security division. that's kind of like hiring john gotti's lawyer, a mob lawyer, and putting him into the organized crime task force at the justice department and having him say what our policy be and that we should go after these mob operations. by the way the attorney general has opened up more investigations of leaks of classified information and any prior attorney general combined. but there's a very interesting pattern to those investigations. which is anytime they can prosecute some low-level employee who leaked classified information to "the new york times," and they have done so, but every time there have been
major leagues that have clearly come out of the white house and were out is intended to make the president look tough, making him look strong, such as, for example, the leak about -- have you heard of the stuxnet virus? probably one of the most successful cyber attacks the u.s. government ever engineered. the cia engineered a computer virus and guided inject it into the computers and iran that run their cyclotron's which are extracting uranium so they can build their nuclear bombs. top secret projects, information about this game directly out of the white house. only intended to make the president look like he was being tough on the iranians. they're trying to do something about it, in the midst of all the criticism over him for doing nothing about it.
no investigation or prosecution of individuals involved in that, and that's a distinct pattern throughout all of this. now i'll be happy to answer it questions. >> great. let's take some questions. kevin, back their -- >> i'm wondering your thoughts on, from the voter fraud perspective on what happened in mississippi? specifically democrats voting for the democratic primary and then switching over and voting republican. then accusations for going after the quote-unquote black vote by pandering to the ideology, you leisure food stamps if you don't vote for me. >> i'm not sure there's a legal issue that but i think there's probably a political issue. i can tell you that it's clear that what happened in mississippi was democrats deciding the runoff election.
how do we know that? because we know that because from the regular primary election to the runoff election there was a 17% increase in turnout across mississippi. to 17% more people voted in the runoff than the original primary. however, if you look at majority democratic counties, the increase in turnout was 40. so it's very close that democrats came in and voted. there's actually an easy solution to prevent that from happening and runoff elections. georgia has this kind of provision. but it's a state law issue and it's simple. you pass a state law that says only individuals who voted in the primary can vote in the primary runoff. and that would've prevented this huge influx of individuals coming in to do. normally it's not really a problem because you contested primaries on both sides.
the republicans don't want to go vote in the democratic primary and the democrats don't want to go vote in the republican primary and give up her decision. >> kevin, did you have a question? >> the clashes between eric holder and congress are pretty well public, but he still seems to be proceeding on the same course he always has. could you comment on the effectiveness of congressional oversight on the justice department and what possibly more effective oversight would look like? >> we have a great constitutional system, but part of the problem with that system is that it assumes that people will abide by it. and we have an entire chapter about eric holder and the way he is misled congress, has lied to congress and showed utter contempt for congress. and the problem you have and are system is when you have an
attorney general who really doesn't care about upsetting congress or complying with the request for information or oversight, not a lot you can do about it. one of the only things that congress can do is try to use the power of the purse to make their upset with him known. that would mean doing very targeted cuts that they think are going to annoy the attorney general, or make them understand their upset with what he is doing. that means by targeted cuts, you don't do just a general cut in the department of justice's budget, but forgot to cut out all of his travel budget, you know, something like that. those of the kinds of targeted cuts in the past congress has used to make its anchorman. you may although the attorney general is the first and only attorney general and the united states history who has been held in contempt of congress?
congress. he refused to give documents over passengers. probably the most reckless operation that led directly to the death of the u.s. border control agent, has led to the deaths of hundreds of mexican citizens, something that is continuing today. that shows, frankly the kind of dismissive attitude that holder has told congress. >> next question. yes, peter. >> we are going into our gubernatorial election this fall and the republican candidate is very interested in do with voter fraud in illinois. i know you both a lot of research on that. he's trying to access all of the avenues possible to do with voter fraud because that's been a big issue especially in the chicago area.
what is your advice? what of the different inject it, the important methods to use to reduce voter fraud? >> well, the problem you've got in illinois is it really takes the legislature to be willing to pass the kind of laws that will actually do something about it, and plus you've got to have a state election official, like a separatist it is willing to do things about it. for example, illinois has no voter id requirement. i'm not sure if illinois is part of the interstate crosscheck program. another problem we have in this country is, i can tell you that you can register in two different states and your chances at getting caught are pretty new but it's easy to vote in more than one state if you want to do that. the state of kansas has started a program called a cross state in to check program to which they let states compare the voter registration lists so each
state can get back a list of folks are registered in your stay pleasant other states. that something else that illinois needs, they need to be a part of that group and they need to use that to clean up their voter roll. we did a whole chapter talking about voter fraud including in chicago where in 1982, which isn't that long ago, the united states attorney and a federal grand jury investigated and ended up prosecuting over 60 individuals, convicting them, putting them in jail. gaston was that there were 100,000 fraudulent votes cast in that election. in fact, there were so many fraudulent votes cast it almost change the outcome of the governor's race in the state. >> next question. >> still a little sleepy this
morning? down here. >> what's your opinion on the recent supreme court ruling regarding the voting rights act, they make changes to the voter rights act? >> i'll be happy to talk about that. last year that the supreme court issued a decision in a case called shelby county, which has been quite controversial but it was actually the right decision. in 1965, congress passed the voter rights act, probably the most important law in addition to the civil rights act was passed in the last century, and it was needed because of the widespread discrimination going on in the south. what people don't understand they were really two parts to the voting rights act. there was one part section two that was permanent, place to the entire country and makes it illegal to discriminate the voting context on the basis of race. but congress put in a second
provision, a temporary measure called section five. and what they said was that okay, a small number of states, at the time it was places like georgia, mississippi, alabama, they can't make any changes in their voting laws without getting the preapproval of the federal government. the reason for that was because at the time the justice department was winning lawsuits against local jurisdictions and the local jurisdictions as soon as the lawsuit was over would find a new way to do exactly what they were doing before. so the whole point of this was to make sure that they didn't change their laws to discriminate. this is also based on the fact that in 1965, the discrimination was evident by the fact that black registration and turnout, for example, in mississippi was in the teens. were as white registration and turnout was in the 50, 60% of the that was clearly discrimination going on.
this is only supposed to last five years. congress kept renewing it, and they renewed it again in 2006 for another 25 years. in 2006 the registration and turnout rate of black americans in the covered states, places like georgia, mississippi, was on par with and actually higher in some places than white voters. so they are clear he was no longer any reason for section five. it wasn't needed. and in the rare instances where discrimination does occur, the justice department can go to court and sue under section two, the permanent nationwide provision to so the supreme court made exactly the right decision because nobody, nobody who looks at reality can say today that georgia, for example, is so much more discriminatory than maryland, that it has to be
under federal supervision, and maryland should not. >> hans, we have some people, students are in law school and some who think they want to go to law school. do you have any career advice? >> well, i'll tell you, look, the economy right now is very tough for everybody but it's also tough for lawyers. i have to tell you, i would encourage her, frankly we need more folks on the conservative side in law schools because they are unfortunately predominated these days, particularly for teaching positions, by liberals. it can be a very rewarding career. so if you want to do it, i would to you take a good school, go to school, work hard, and then get out into an area where you are doing things that you find most interesting. so i won't discourage you, but i
do have to tell you that the economy right now is pretty tough, even for lawyers. >> well, thank you very much, hans. great having you. [applause] >> at the weekend booktv brings you 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books on c-span2. keep watching for more television for serious readers. >> all week watchable tv in prime time. monday at 8:30 p.m. eastern and tuesday through friday at eight, booktv features a wide range of topics including foreign policy, law and legal issues, iran, coverage of the fairs and festivals from across the country and the bestsellers from this year. and let us know what you think about the program you're watching.